A sports enthusiast became the first person in Hong Kong to receive a biodegradable implant to repair a common knee injury that put a stop to Linsanity for the former New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin Shu-how.
But while Lin, now with the Houston Rockets, received the traditional arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to repair the meniscal tear in April this year, William Budden, creative director of Bud On Creation, had a novel implant.
An Actifit scaffold implant made from polyurethane was inserted and will act as a scaffold for new tissue to grow into and regenerate the meniscus, a half-moon shaped piece of tough tissue in the knee that acts as a shock absorber.
Meniscal tears caused by sudden forceful twisting of the knee result in more than one million surgeries performed annually in the United States and about 400,000 in Europe. There are no estimates in Hong Kong, but a doctor said he sees one to two cases a week needing surgery.
The Belgium-developed scaffold, which costs HK$20,000, was approved in Europe in 2008 and is awaiting approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
"I'm a sports person but I play active sport, team sport and I haven't played team sport for a very long time so it would be nice to get back into that," said Budden, 33, a day after undergoing hour-long keyhole surgery at Matilda International Hospital.
He said his left knee gave out after a wakeboarding incident in 2002. Knee surgery at Queen Mary Hospital in 2006 enabled Budden to get back into swimming and running "but it's not as much fun" as even more competitive sports.
Budden is already on the move - hopping around on crutches a day after surgery a week ago to scrape away scar tissue and insert the device - but will have to undergo six months of physiotherapy before he can test whether he has full use of his old knee back.
"If it does go wrong it's not the end of the world," he said.
One of the developers of the device, Rene Verdonk of the Ghent University Hospital in Belgium, said the implant was developed after many years of work at a university in the Netherlands.